Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · The King is dead... get...
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The King is dead... get used to it

Ross Boissoneau - July 6th, 2009
The King is Dead...
... get used to it
By Ross Boissoneau 7/6/09

And in a news flash, Michael Jackson is still dead. So is Anna Nicole Smith.
Yes, it is news that Jackson died so suddenly and mysteriously. But the complete meltdown of the tabloid press – and the not-tabloid press – is so over-the-top as to be ridiculous.
Not that Jackson would have minded. This type of overblown media coverage is something he helped create and fueled. Some, such as Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, have painted Jackson as a tragic figure alternately celebrated and vilified by our country’s celebrity-mad culture. Which is true enough, but conveniently ignores the culpability of those who feed into it. Such as Wacko Jacko or Anna Nicole Smith, or before them, Elvis.
At some point in time, whether they suffered abuse or overexposure, people have to take responsibility for their own lives and their own actions. By all accounts, Jackson never did. Instead, he holed up in Neverland, or Dubai, or someplace where he could be surrounded by his sycophants and apologists. Who can forget the images of him holding his child outstretched over a balcony, or standing atop a car waving to adoring fans while on trial for child molestation?
While he was found not guilty in that trial, his confession that, as an adult, he found it perfectly acceptable to sleep with children sent shudders through many, though apparently not all. Add to that his bizarre appearances in court, and of course his disfiguring himself through plastic surgery and bleaching agents until he was unrecognizable. For all the musical talent he displayed through his 20s and 30s, the Michael Jackson of the last 10-15 years has been a sideshow, a circus freak.
But you don‘t hear much of that from those bemoaning his sudden death. Instead, they focus on the Jackson of the ‘80s, when he ruled the charts with “Thriller” and “Bad,” or his earlier persona with his brothers, as a pre-teen belting out “I Want You Back” or “ABC.” Great tunes, obviously. And no doubt his music and videos were more responsible than those of any other artist for the integration of MTV.
But again, those showering him with such overpraise are missing the point. Biggest album ever? Yes. Greatest music icon ever? Ummm, well, one of them, maybe. Best or most important musical figure in history?Hardly.While his singing and dancing made him a star, he was far from the greatest at either. In fact, heard today, his vocal histrionics sound distressingly similar from record to record. I’ll take Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder, please.
And while he wrote many of his greatest hits, he didn’t play an instrument as does, say, Prince, or Steve Winwood, or Todd Rundgren – all of whom play guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, write, produce and sing, and whose careers are still going strong and will eclipse Jackson’s in terms of longevity.
And if longevity is the greatest single marker of greatness, will Jackson’s music still be played in 20 or 30 or 50 years, like that of Gershwin or Duke Ellington or Count Basie? Or in 200 or 300 years, like that of Bach or Beethoven?
No, while Jackson was a man of his times, those times are 20 years in the rear view mirror. The sad, pathetic, scary person he became is gone now, and we should let him rest in peace.

Ross Boissoneau writes periodically about music for the Express.

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